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We are frequently mentioned in international media, and invited to share our thoughts at well-regarded events across the globe. Our companies get extensive coverage.

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Here’s what you missed at BASE Conference 2020 – Johor’s inaugural business and tech conference

e27

Russ Neu, venture partner for impact, was on the opening panel at BASE Conference 2020.

“The local startups now boast a combined valuation of RM467million (USD115 million), with more than 400 jobs being created over the past 4 years, contributing an average of RM160 million per year to the local state GDP. There are also a staggering number of 46 coworking spaces, now, in Iskandar, Malaysia, combining for a total area of 300,000 square footage. These figures were all taken from the Johor Startup Ecosystem Report which was officially published on 15 Jan 2019, in conjunction with IskandarSpace’s first year anniversary.

Russ Neu, Venture Partner, Impact, Quest Ventures believes that “A lot of new technology and innovation in the coming decade will be addressing the UN’s SDGs”.”

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Baiterek Holding creates venture capital fund, pursues long-term construction projects in 2020

The Astana Times

“The signing of the package of documents, we believe, will certainly lead to positive results. In particular, investments of a leading venture company in Kazakh projects will increase the attractiveness of our country’s venture market and attract other key players. In addition, Kazakh projects will have the opportunity of international acceleration and access to advanced competencies and experience,” said Arifkhanov, reported the press service.

Later QazTech Ventures also signed a memorandum with Quest Ventures, a leading venture capital fund in Singapore, as well as a tripartite memorandum with the National Agency for Innovation of Thailand and Baiterek Holding.

“The countries of Southeast Asia were able to make a significant breakthrough in the development of their economies thanks to the recently adopted and successfully implemented strategy for the development of innovations and venture financing. Over the past five years, Asia’s VC (venture capital) indicators have increased by almost 14 times,” the Baiterek press service said.

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No more ‘burn, baby, burn’: VCs expect more caution in 2020

The Business Times

Jeffrey Seah, a partner at Quest Ventures, similarly thinks that 2020 may bring more mindfulness and perhaps even more rational valuations.

“There is a more mature and mainstream lens in evaluating venture ideas as going concerns, versus the past cavalier “spray and pray” approaches to drive coverage and seize market share.”

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Singaporeans in Hong Kong and mainland China: how the ‘third wing’ of the Lion City’s economy took flight

SCMP

The South China Morning Post interviewed Quest Ventures’ James Tan for his perspective on how Singaporean firms have, over the decades, moved from a ‘first wing’ – the domestic economy – to a second, namely regional expansion and how a new group of entrepreneurs is assimilating into other economies and building localised businesses rather than brandishing the city state’s brand.

“Drawn to China by the simple desire to fish in “a bigger pond”, he founded online daily-deals site 55tuan.com with four other schoolmates in late 2009, after graduating from Beijing’s prestigious Tsinghua University.

The firm would go on to become the first Chinese e-commerce firm listed on the Nasdaq index in the United States, with a presence in more than 200 cities in China today.

“It may be hard to believe now in an age of Grab, Airbnb and Meetup, but gathering a group of people who do not know one another and who want to do something similar together in 2009 was difficult,” Tan said, noting that 55tuan.com took off only after group discounts at restaurants were built into the service.

Being at the heart of the massive Chinese market meant Tan and his team had to deal with swarms of competitors, including many scam companies.

“China back then was not a nice place to kick new business ideas off the ground. People would take your idea and run with it. Even up till five years ago, there was this term called C2C, or Copy to China. Everything you can find in Silicon Valley, you’d be able to find a copycat version in China.”

But a lot had changed since, he said – including China’s building up of its own technological muscle.

“The Chinese are no longer just copycats. They’ve taken ideas and made them even better,” Tan said. “It’s not just Alibaba or WeChat. Just look at ride-sharing apps like Didi Chuxing and drone manufacturers like DJI. There’re also social media apps like TikTok – who knew it would become this big? The US is no longer the world’s only source of inspiration.”

Tan founded venture capital firm Quest Ventures in 2011 to focus on the untapped potential of Southeast Asian start-ups, instead of those trying to break into the Chinese market.

“Five years ago, it would have made sense to focus on start-ups entering China, but not any more,” he said. “Now you also have many haigui [people who return to China after studying abroad]. Like everyone else, they can see that opportunities no longer just exist in the US, but right there in their home country, in China.””

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